The Auldenfire MDA Software Atelier: A workshop methodology and
process, based on the OMG's ® MDA, using specialized function cells
to transform stock components into customized enterprise applications.
Global enterprise projects are a challenging world where failure is more
likely than success. The 1995 and 2000 CHAOS reports from the Standish
Group show this clearly. Success - defined by the Standish Group as
a project that is completed on time, within budget, and that met all
of the original requirements - requires a disciplined approach based
on an architectural framework. The introduction of management science
and formal methodologies into information technology has increased the
success rate of projects. Although the number of successful projects more
than doubled from 1995 to 2000, the success rate is still only
28% (green portion of pie chart below).
As budgets, number of people, number of functional delivery points, and
length of time increase, the rate of success drops dramatically. Almost
three quarters of all projects are either classified as failed
(red portion of pie chart below) -
defined as being canceled - or impaired (yellow
portion of pie chart below) - defined as exceeding budget, exceeding allotted
time, or failing to deliver all of the original requirements. The pie
charts below illustrate the increase in project success from 1995 to 2000
(source: Standish Group CHAOS Study):
(Click the images above to view them in full size)
|Challenged projects 1995
||Challenged projects 2000
Results from the CHAOS study indicate that the increasing use of formal
methods, use of architectural frameworks, and disciplined project management
is driving the increase in project success. Auldenfire has always been
a strong proponent of formal processes and methods based on sound business
Auldenfire has a significant number of consultants on assignment helping
clients with troubled projects in both management and technical roles.
ASR Strategic Resources (ASR) Professional Services (ASR-PS) alone tasked
70% of external consulting activities helping clients get troubled projects
back on track. In over 80% of these cases, only a few people were required
(typically 1 to 6 [ASR-PS-2000]).
Do They Get It?
Applying common sense to information technology initiatives is an essential
element of success. Unfortunately, projects frequently fail because of
politics, ineffective and inefficient implementation approaches, improper
skill-sets, lack of knowledge, and failure to control the process. When
the economy is good and the company is profitable, initial warning signs
are frequently ignored. Most companies do not begin to take corrective
steps until they face a crisis. Bottom line, success needs planning, discipline,
vision, and effective and efficient use of resources. Auldenfire provides
the benefits of real-world IT business management experience with the
requisite technical background and independent third-party perspective
essential for providing management with a balanced perspective.
Auldenfire's guiding principle concerning information technology development
is simple: The economic costs and benefits must be evaluated and an option
chosen that will result in, from an economic standpoint, the maximum return
on investment (ROI) back to the organization. In economic terms, the organization
must be better off at the conclusion of a project than when it started.
Information technology serves the organization by automating the business
process, delivering economically valuable services, increasing efficiency,
and enabling an organization to become more effective in carrying out
its objectives. Information technology must serve the customer - both
internal and external.
On Time - On Budget
Sound business practices need to be applied to information technology
development. These practices include:
- Resource Planning - Auldenfire provides valuable resourcing
services by utilizing our own senior developers to screen applicants
by using both technical interviews and skills assessment tests. Auldenfire
has been developing and using assessment tests since 1983. Auldenfire
also works with the Institute for the Certification of Computing Professionals
(ICCP) to develop vendor-neutral, independent, third-party, professional
certification exams. Our applicant screening process involves senior
project leaders and managers with enterprise experience. It takes a
senior enterprise developer to recognize a senior enterprise developer
and to build an effective team with the correct set of skills and experience
to deliver on time and on budget. We apply the same high standards to
our clients as we do to our own internal development teams. Auldenfire's
combined experience in recruiting, interviewing, testing, and team building
ensures that the right people with the right skills and experience are
assigned to your project.
- Vendor Management - Auldenfire has extensive experience managing
vendor relationships since 1983. Organizations have their own agendas.
Many vendors have one objective: Close the deal fast and get as much
money as possible up front. Auldenfire is interested in building long-term
relationships with our clients. Auldenfire works for you, the client,
to provide independent, third-party information that can be relied on.
Our experience in product testing, product integration, negotiating
enterprise application purchases and service level agreements (SLA),
and our product implementation life-cycle knowledge allows us to represent
your best interests when dealing with vendors. Enterprise applications
are typically expensive. In addition to the license fees and initial
installation and configuration costs, many enterprise applications can
require months of integration and custom development work. Auldenfire
can help negotiate incremental cost structures allowing the client to
optimize Return On Investment (ROI) by shifting acquisition costs to
appropriate economic benefit milestone dates. For example, a company
purchasing a web content management (WCM) application may decide to
also purchase a personalization application at the same time. Large
WCM implementations can often take a year to complete, yet the organization
needs to maintain revenues to cover the ROI expectations of the share
holders for both the WCM and personalization investments. Delaying the
purchase of the personalization application until the organization is
ready to start integrating it into the enterprise will positively impact
ROI. Auldenfire provides business and economic impact analysis to help
an organization develop an effective project implementation plan.
- Maintaining Project Focus - People are best utilized when they
focus on one thing at a time. Individual multitasking should be kept
to a minimum. Large-scale, complex enterprise projects require structure,
coordination, and direction to keep on track. Auldenfire's senior project
leads and managers are degreed professionals with the real-world experience
critical to maintaining team focus.
- Managing Expectations - Successful projects keep things simple.
Auldenfire integration and development activities focus on the basics
first, before trying to add additional functionality and complexity.
Breaking up a complex project into smaller, well-defined, and scoped
tasks, is an important part of managing expectations - it is easy to
take on too much. Auldenfire is not afraid to say no. Auldenfire values
long-term relationships with our customers. Long-term relationships
require open and honest communication. Auldenfire applies quantitative
management science practices coupled with economic and technology assessments
to evaluate the economic cost and return on investment (E-ROI) to help
our clients make informed decisions when a solution provides less than
100% of the requirements - often the benefits of an incomplete solution
are "good enough" to justify a less aggressive customization
- Managing Change - Change is a pervasive state in information
technology. Introducing new IT solutions frequently changes how an organization
functions, which in turn can create the need for additional IT changes.
Auldenfire has technical business analysts and project managers that
are experienced in managing change in the enterprise. In addition to
workflow and business process impact assessment, Auldenfire also provides
workforce, implementation, and economic assessment. Auldenfire is experienced
in helping clients shift from traditional architectures (that
are homogeneous, centrally managed, often based around "big iron"
mainframes, synchronous and local with infrequent failures) to distributed
architectures (that are heterogeneous, remote, autonomous, geographically
dispersed, not as secure, and have evolving configurations built with
different hardware and software components over time where partial system
failures are frequent).
- Maximizing Return On Investment (ROI) - Understand the maturation
life-cycle of a product when making a buy decision - enterprise applications
frequently take time before all of the features are utilized. Only purchase
as much as is actually needed to complete each stage of the integration.
A big bang implementation combined with a big upfront purchase will
have a negative impact on ROI if the return will not be realized for
some time. Vendor management has become an increasingly critical part
of information technology business management. Auldenfire has expert
knowledge on application integration lifecycles, which helps clients
negotiate and plan their projects with the application vendors.
- Mitigating Risk - Risk mitigation is a continuing process that
requires both commitment and discipline. Auldenfire is committed to
core enterprise architecture and development. Auldenfire maintains a
proactive risk mitigation program including:
- Formal training emphasizing hands-on, real-world implementation
topics and the underlying theory required to understand critical
- Multinational teams to leverage problem solving and to allow better
integration with our international clients
- Local presence and colocation with our strategic partners and
clients reducing the cost of team deployment and increasing communication
- Small business organizations with flat management structures emphasizing
technical skill-sets and roles
- A customer service and quality assurance program based on Total
Quality Management (TQM) and implementation of ISO 9000:2000
- Adoption of the Capability Maturity Model (CMM)
- Active participation in industry and academia organizations developing
international and industry standards
- Dedicated development and support infrastructure
- Development infrastructure completely isolated from the Internet
- Security procedures and awareness programs
- Resource recruitment practices using technical interviews, skills
assessment tests, and trainee/internship programs
- Proven methodologies and practices that conform to industry accepted
Bottom line, Auldenfire provides shorter delivery times because we have
full life-cycle project experience, enterprise tool sets, proven methodologies,
discipline, and a commitment to excellence. Our rolling team approach
allows us to leverage economies of scale - providing our clients with
shorter build times and lower implementation costs. Auldenfire's core
focus is the enterprise.